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City gives Hostmark retreat 6-1 Old Town site OK

POULSBO — Quicker than expected, the Wonderland Retreat has been OKed for an Old Town Poulsbo neighborhood.

And at least one council member urged letting bygones be bygones on this matter.

In a 6-1 decision July 21, the Poulsbo City Council approved the findings of fact for the Wonderland Retreat Conditional Use Permit (CUP).

The decision means that as of July 22, Laurie Bevan of Seabeck may operate a craft/quilting retreat house for short term stays of groups of no more than 12 people at 459 NE Hostmark Street.

The CUP was initially approved July 14 in a 3-3 council vote with Mayor Donna Jean Bruce breaking the tie. The contentious debate lasted more than two hours and included 14 speakers. The findings of fact are the official record of the proceedings, as well as a legal explanation of the council’s decision.

Before taking the vote, Councilman Dale Rudolph, who voted in the minority July 14, urged his fellow council members and the public to move past the issue.

“I’m a believer that when the majority of the council makes a decision ... that I’m going to support it because it is a majority decision,” Rudolph said.

He added that the split decision on the CUP followed a “vigorous discussion” and that the council did not automatically side with the applicant just because of the potential for it to bring tourist dollars to the area.

“The public had its opinion, the applicant had her rights and the council upheld those rights,” Rudolph noted. “There’s no need for anyone to take offense and there’s no need for anyone to apologize.”

Rudolph was the lone dissenting vote against the findings of fact, however, it was because of a wording change he wished to see in the document that was not made.

Also at the July 21 meeting:

•Council held an executive session on city personnel qualifications and then returned to the table to unanimously vote to allow Mayor Bruce to make an offer of employment to her top choice for the new Public Works Director. Bruce said she will not announce the name of the candidate until after she’s received an answer from that person. The new Public Works Director will replace John Stephenson, who retired June 30.

•It was announced that Councilwoman Connie Lord is now the chair of the council community services committee, Councilman Jeff McGinty is the new chair of the finance/administration committee and Councilman Mike Regis is the new chair of the public works committee. Chairmanship of each of the council committees switches every six months.

•Council approved a renewal of an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement for Urban Community Development Program Funds between Kitsap County and the cities of Bainbridge Island, Port Orchard and Poulsbo. The contract will last from 2005-2007. By taking part in the partnership, Poulsbo will be able to share in the estimated $2.5 million in HOME Investment Partnership and Community Development Block grants that Kitsap County may receive annually.

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